If you’re part of a wedding party or someone close to you is getting married, you are probably thinking what to do about the bridal shower. Who plans it? Who pays for it? And how much does a shower typically cost?
Generally, a bridal shower costs between $10 and $150 per person. Traditionally, the bride’s friends and neighbors would pay for it. But today, the bridal party or the bride’s family will often plan and pay for the wedding shower.
In this article, I’ll explain how much it costs to put on a bridal shower and what a good budget for one is. I’ll also discuss who pays for it.
How Much Does It Cost to Put on a Bridal Shower?
Most couples want a memorable wedding, and a bridal shower is an important aspect. So, what does it usually cost to throw a bridal shower?
It costs between $10 and $150 per person to put on a bridal shower. This depends on various elements, including the number of guests, the bridal shower type, venue, food and drinks, party favors, and any extras required.
I’ll discuss the factors affecting the cost of a bridal shower in more detail below. But if you don’t know the basics of bridal showers, I suggest you read this article first where I go into what a typical bridal shower looks like and how it is different from an engagement or bachelorette party.
The Number of Guests
If you are renting a venue, catering for the bridal shower, and providing bridal shower favors, the final cost will be much more if you invite many guests because most venues charge per person.
I talk about the importance of your guest count and how that affects wedding costs in more detail here.
On the other hand, a small and intimate bridal shower can cost less, but it can also depend on the other factors mentioned below.
The Bridal Shower Type
There are many ways to host a bridal shower, and the perfect one will depend on the bride’s personality and preferences.
Some bridal shower hosts rent out a section of a restaurant or a ballroom at a hotel, have the food catered, and provide champagne and elaborate party favors. Other hosts hold the shower at their homes, have everyone bring a plate of snacks, and provide fun and inexpensive entertainment.
However, if the bride is not a fan of tradition and would prefer a unique experience, the host will need to think out of the box. Examples of non-traditional bridal showers include:
- Bridal party skydiving
- Cooking classes
- Movie night
- Escape room
Every bride is unique, and the kind of bridal shower that will work for one bride won’t necessarily work for the next one.
Hosting the bridal shower at an upmarket venue with gourmet food, drinks, and expensive favors can easily cost $150 per person.
However, if the bride would prefer something simple, hosting the shower at someone’s home is a good idea. If the host requests each guest to bring a small plate of food and their preferred drink, the cost could be $10 per person or less.
Food and Drinks
Aside from the venue, the food and drinks are a major element affecting the cost of a bridal shower. Having the venue’s kitchen or a catering company provides the food can be costly, especially if it’s for a large group and your food choice is expensive, such as the following:
- Smoked salmon
- Fillet steak
- Dishes with edible gold leaf
Drinks, such as champagne or cocktails, can also be expensive, and if the host pays for everyone’s drinks (as opposed to a cash bar), the costs can mount. Generally, people tend to drink way less at a bridal shower or couples shower than a wedding because it’s during the day and, if you live in a suburban or rural area, guests plan to drive home. If you’re on a budget, feel free to set out pre-mixed mimosas topped with a splash of champagne. When they run out, guests can switch to water or other soft drinks.
The type of party favors the host chooses can also impact the bridal shower cost. At extravagant bridal showers, you might expect party favors, such as the following:
- Branded cosmetics
- Luxury toiletries
- Small perfume bottles
- Mini champagne bottles
Providing party favors similar to the above can be expensive and push up the final bridal shower cost. It’s also not common at most of the showers I’ve attended to have such extravagant gifts.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money if you make your own party favors. Here are a few examples of budget-friendly party favors that I’ve seen at bridal showers:
- Pretty home-baked cupcakes
- Personalized soap bars
- Lavender-filled organza bags
- Handcrafted luggage tags
Depending on the type of bridal shower you are putting on, you might decide to include some extras, including the following:
- Photography services. A photographer can help the bride remember the day for many years, but you could save costs by asking a guest to be the official photographer.
- Band or DJ. Having music at the bridal shower can encourage the guests to head onto the dance-floor if there is one.
- Photo booth. Renting a photo booth can introduce the element of fun, but you could also make one if you enjoy craft projects.
What Is a Good Budget for a Bridal Shower?
A good budget for a bridal shower depends on the bride and family’s expectations.
Based on the average cost per person and an average bridal shower guest list of 35-50 people, a good budget for a bridal shower is between $350 and $7,500. The person organizing it should have a frank discussion with the bride to establish her wishes for the shower and create the budget and guest list based on this.
On the flip side, as the bridal shower organizer, it’s important to be honest with the bride about how much you can afford to spend on the shower. If you are splitting the cost with other bridesmaids or close friends, each person should be upfront about what they believe is an appropriate budget.
Here’s how much you can expect pay for a bridal shower per person:
|Bridal Shower Guest Count||Low Cost Shower||Medium Cost Shower||High Cost Shower|
As you can see from the chart above, the costs for a shower can range significantly. From a 10-person brunch at your Aunt’s house that only costs $100 in food, decorations, and favors to a large 100-person affair at a restaurant that costs as much as a used car.
Who Pays for the Bridal Shower Cost?
Weddings are traditional celebrations, and most people have clear expectations about who pays for what. However, many folks aren’t aware of who should pay for the bridal shower.
The bride’s friends and neighbors traditionally pay for the bridal shower, but this has changed over the decades. Modern bridal showers are typically paid for by the bridal party or the bride’s family.
When planning a wedding, one of the couple’s close friends or relatives will often volunteer to plan and pay for the bridal shower. Otherwise, the bridal party will split the cost.
However, since every couple, family, and group of friends is different, who pays for the shower should be based on what feels right for them. If you’re expecting your maid of honor to plan or help pay for the shower, here’s a guide for how to set expectations with her from the beginning.
Every bride is different, and there shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to bridal showers. Depending on the bride’s wishes for the shower, it can cost between $10 and $150 per head.
The following elements affect the bridal shower cost:
- Number of guests
- Bridal shower type
- Food and drinks
- Party favors
- Extras required
Need help budgeting for your bridal shower or wedding?
You can check out my free budget guide if you sign up for my newsletter. It automatically calculates what you should spend where based on your budget and guest count and helps you stay on track. It’s like the fairy godmother of numbers.